Warby Parker CEO shares social responsibility at GCU New York

19 November 2014

Neil Blumenthal, Cara Smyth, Dirk Standen

Neil Blumenthal, Cara Smyth, Dirk Standen

Neil Blumenthal, Co-Founder and CEO of Warby Parker, shared how the company has revolutionised the eye-wear industry and helped to transform the lives of people around the world who cannot afford glasses.

The business leader was speaking at the latest GCU NY’s Fashion Sharing Progress series on November 18, which was moderated by Editor in Chief of Style.com Dirk Standen.

Mr Blumenthal spoke of how Warby Parker was established to make spectacles more affordable and how its buy-a-pair, give-a-pair model ensures people in developing countries have access to life-changing glasses.

Mr Blumenthal said: “At the end of the day, the amount of money didn’t matter, what mattered was getting people the right glasses and about doing good in everything we do.

“Almost one billion people worldwide lack access to glasses, which means that 15 per cent of the world’s population cannot effectively learn or work. To help address this problem, we have partnered with non-profit organisations to ensure that, for every pair of glasses purchased, a pair is distributed to someone in need.”

Moderator Dirk Standen said: "A lot of companies talk about social responsibility these days, but with its buy-a-pair, give-a-pair model, Warby Parker actually puts its money where its mouth is."

Before launching Warby Parker in 2010, Mr Blumenthal was Director of VisionSpring, a non-profit social enterprise which trained low-income women to start their own businesses by selling affordable products to people living on less than $4 per day in developing countries. In 2005, he was named a Fellow for Emerging Leaders in Public Service at NYU Robert F. Wagner School for Public Service, and, in 2012, he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. In 2013, he received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and was recognised as part of "The Next Establishment" by Vanity Fair and named one of Crain’s “40 Under Forty”. Mr Blumenthal serves on the boards of RxArt and the United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council.

GCU New York’s Town Hall events allow academics, professionals, experts and students to collaborate to bring fresh perspectives to existing industry problems and help identify solutions.